Thursday, August 28, 2014


So, I'm a little behind in my monthly wrap-ups.  Life is just too hectic between my job, taking care of everything at home, and looking after Nate & Chelsea.

The plan I've hatched is to get caught up on my monthly posts in the next 2 weeks, finish out 2014 and then send this blog into the great unknown.  Time to wrap it up and say adios.

Instagram has become my photo sharing source these days (em me for details and access).

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Now THAT is how an ice cream lover eats an ice cream cone!

We've been playing with a lot of Legos lately.  Nate has enjoyed his subscription to (rental service of Lego kits)  I'm still on the fence about Pley -- several of our kits have had missing bricks.

 Consistently warmer weather means more time outside and playing wrestling in our toy tent.

Sunflowers from this year's garden.  The setting sun was hitting them just right for a nice picture one evening.  Our 2014 garden has been a disappointment.  More on that another time...

Nate with his "body portrait" at Open House.  Every year the kids paint a body portrait.  It's been interesting to see how his skills have progressed each year.  He likes to draw big eyes (!)

 Don't mess with Texas Chelsea.  Seriously, this girl loves hats!  She wears one every day -- Nate's Easter fedora, Burger King crown, bicycle helmet, winter ski cap, you name it. 

I'm thrilled when my kids play in the sprinklers during the summer because (1) it's what I used to do as a kid and (2) it means I don't have to go to the trouble of blowing up the inflatable pool!  #momneedsabreak

We picked strawberries on an overcast Saturday during Memorial Day weekend.  People kept referring to Chelsea as a boy (as if the pink shoes aren't a clue but whatever).  She loved the animals at the farm and asked about the "goats" & "animals" for several days afterward.

"I found one!" Nate would yell to us when he saw a red strawberry.  He was a good little farmer.  The strawberries were delicious.

How did this little guy grow up so fast?  Goodbye beloved preschool.  We will miss you SO much! (maybe Mommy is going to miss it most of all.....)  But of course, Chelsea will be there in 2015...

Do you see Nate's response to the question?  Please, Lord, help our sweet boy find a special friend or two or three!

Nate and 2 of his preschool buddies.  This class really bonded...can you tell I'm feeling a little sad about leaving it???
Nate and 1 of his 2 teachers on the last day of school.   She started to cry when telling me about how terrific Nate is.  Then I started to cry.  What an emotional day!

Thursday, May 1, 2014


One Sunday afternoon, I must have had a stroke.  I say this because, on a whim, I decided to make fried chicken.  I've never made fried chicken before.  The recipe looked easy - only 4 steps - how hard could it be??  Hard, it was very hard.  I have very little experience cooking with oil in this way.  I think I will stick with baked, roasted, and grilled chicken and leave the fried birds in the hands of The Colonel and Paula Deen.

My children don't fall asleep in random places.  They are bed sleepers only.  I can't remember what prompted this but Lee snapped this photo when Chelsea fell asleep in her highchair after lunch.  I love how her hand is dangling there.  A rare sight indeed.

Our garden is growing!   I will share pictures of it further into the summer.  We were so excited to get some peas on the vine.  Chelsea and I have eaten them.  Sadly, the peas have become the first casualty of the garden.  I think this early heat has been too rough on them.  I'd like to plant some more soon.


Nate called to me from the living room one afternoon and said he had a surprise for me.  I went to the door and nearly jumped out of my skin to see a rather deflated Darth Vader costume laying on the floor.  Ha!  I love his attention to detail with the light saber right on the glove.  It's Star Wars meets Flat Stanley.

Somebody is completely enamored by her stuffed snake and wears it like a feather boa around her neck.  I should also document that Miss Chelsea's vocabulary has quadrupled this month.  Her favorite phrases to say right now are "look at this, Mom" "hold that" "I win!" "thank you, gardener"


We had a nice Easter lunch on the Saturday before EasterI made the Pioneer Woman's grilled chicken salad and a yummy brownie recipe I found on Pinterest.  Easy table runner idea -- I used a roll of discounted wrapping paper.  I think it was just over 1 dollar for the roll.  It added some nice color and was easy to clean up (no washing afterwards!)

Ahh, that crazy Uncle Eric. 

Is it possible to have too many Easter eggs? 
Hey, is that money on the grass???

Tulips!  One of my favorite Spring flowers.

I don't think I can remember any other year when we dyed Easter eggs and it was 90 degrees outside.  Kinda took the joy out of it.

Woo hoo!  Grandma and I surprised Nate with a mid-week trip to Disneyland, thanks to a very generous friend.  Chelsea and Daddy stayed home.  Don't worry, she'll get to go maybe 3 years.

Nate's favorite part of the entire Disneyland Resort?  The Lego Store, of course.

"My big brother goes to Disneyland and all I get is this lousy hat."

Have a happy May!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Which of these statements is true:
  1. Time to pack our bags and buy skirts for the boys....Lee's accepted a job in Samoa (I'll wait while you find it on Google Earth)
  2. We're expecting Cook baby #3 AND #4 - wow, twins!
  3. Nate knocked out a front tooth while dancing around to Pharrell William's "Happy" song.  Nate, you gotta watch out for those doorways, buddy.
  4. She won! Chelsea is Little Miss Coppertone 2014
The answer?   You'll have to wait until the very bottom of this post.  No peeking!
In the meantime, on to my March round-up which isn't nearly as exciting as any of the above....

Does anybody know that Walt Disney's cute little red barn has been moved to Griffith Park?  It's open for viewing one Sunday a month and holds a huge amount of items related to his model train collection.  I want to live here!

 A happy face in the morning!

 Disney? Check.  Star Wars?  Check.  Something that combines the two?  Pretty awesome.  A school friend of Nate's picked up these car window decals for us at Disneyland.  I wanted to be Princess Leia in the 4th grade.  Guess I can cross that off my bucket list.

 I'm giddy over these little feet in sandals.

 25+ pictures taken on St. Patty's Day and the best one might be when she tried to shove her finger up her brother's nose.

 Doesn't look like much now but our vegetable garden has been planted.  We've got cherry tomatoes, peas, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, beets, and corn!  I've also planted Dahlia and Gladiolus bulbs.  I'm excited to see what happens.

Thought I'd share one of our favorite staples -- ham & beans.  Actually, I switched out the ham for smoked turkey legs.  It's soooo good.  You can find variations of the recipe on Pinterest.

I always post happy pictures of the kiddos but there are other moments in our life too.  "Sobbing at the Back Door" is an appropriate name for this photo.  She was not a happy girl.  Hitting me in the face and throwing stuff on the floor didn't buy her any sympathy.  Just keeping it real....

Matchbox Car Name Parade!

The brim of Chelsea's sunhat flipped up and I immediately thought of Scarlett O'Hara's wide-brimmed hat at the start of Gone with the Wind.  Although, I don't believe Scarlett carried a sippy cup around Tara....
Okay, so the answer to my question above is...April Fools!  Hey, it ends in 45 minutes and I couldn't help myself. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Review #2

Well, I haven't been reading as much as I would like now that Chelsea is more & more mobile (translation: trouble maker).  Here are a few books I managed to eek out at the end of last year and into 2014:

It's been months since I finished The Light Between Oceans and I still think about it once in a while.  It is exquisitely written; I haven't read a book with such vivid imagery in a long time.  The plot captures your attention from the start and is, ultimately, heartbreaking.  Discussing the particulars of the plot gives too much away so I'll leave it at that.  I highly recommend this novel.

I was disappointed with Beautiful Ruins.  Maybe my expectations were too high because, with such a beautiful cover, it has to be the perfect novel, right??  Well, the cover photo is very pretty but I found this book to be so-so.  This is the first book I've read where I actually skipped a chapter (it wasn't totally relevant to the main plot).  The chapters, in fact, jump around and cover different decades in the lives of the characters, which was an interesting literary device but I found it too distracting from the storyline. Also, I wasn't fond of the Hollywood/movie-making portion of the plot.  I finished this book -- that's really the only good thing I can say about it.

We made a super fast stop at the library recently and after checking out a dozen kid books, I decided to quickly swing by the "new book" shelf on our way out.  With Chelsea squirming in my arms and Nate asking "how long are we going to be here?" I decided to grab a book and go, solely basing my item on cover photo and title. Yea for me.  Anyhoo, this book was fascinating and I would recommend it if you're interesting in British history.  Pamela Hicks is the great, great granddaughter of Queen Victoria and she's lived a very interesting, very privileged life among the upper-crust of British society.  She was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth for a time, lived in India for a spell and was friends with Gandhi.  I can only assume by the very abrupt ending to this book that Mrs. Hicks is planning a second volume to her autobiography.  Fascinating story.
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said?  I finished it 2 weeks ago and I think about it constantly.   It will blow your mind.  I can't decide who I love more -- Laura Hillenbrand or the book's subject, Louis Zamperini (I might love Laura a smidge more because Louis is a USC alum....)  The movie based on this book comes out in December.  I highly recommend reading this book first; Laura's attention to detail (research!!) is impeccable and there's no way the movie can cover the entire story unless it's a 4+ hour film.  My only other comment would be to warn future readers that the POW abuse and other elements of the story wore me out at one point.  It's difficult to read about someone's suffering day after day and not have it affect you.  I had to put the book down for a couple of days because it was taking me to a dark place.  After my self-imposed break, I finished the book just fine.   I will definitely make my kids read this book at some point in their future ("20 books your mom wants you to read as young adults "-- hmmm, that's a list I need to start working on).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

January and February

I've fallen behind in my updates!  But, honestly, there isn't too much to write about besides just typical daily life stuff.  I'll let the pictures do the talking....

We spontaneously decorated with some crepe paper and balloons before our family SuperBowl party. 

 A rare moment of sibling affection.

 She wants to play with the big kid toys soooo badly.

 Love this little guy.

 A kick done in the spirit of fun....or is it???

Working on a birthday banner for Daddy.

 Daddy's birthday cake and ice cream.  
Hey Chelsea, no feet on the table!

Valentine's Day goodies for my little sweethearts.

I bribe my kids with food during photo shoots. 

We bought large planters at Costco and will be using them for some of our veggie crop this year.  The kids have enjoyed playing with them too.

With the unseasonably warm weather, we've been breaking out the Spring hand-me-downs.